A job description is more than just a title to a want ad; it leads to a thought process that helps the employer understand how important each job is to the business overall. An accurate job description ensures employees understand exactly what is expected of them, and on what criteria they will be judged. A good job description not only outlines the specific duties and responsibilities of the job, but makes clear the training, education, and skills a candidate for the job should possess. An effective job description provides a guide for interviewing job candidates, as well as for evaluating job performance after hire.


Characteristics of a Good Job Description

It’s important to give some thought to the creation of a job description, as it should be accurate as well as descriptive. Characteristics of a good job description include the following:


  • A summary that is brief and to the point.
  • A list of required skills. Describe any educational or technical requirements, as well as any computer software or machinery in which the employee is expected to be proficient.
  • A description of job duties and responsibilities. Provide a detailed account of what the job entails. You may also list job priorities in this section.
  • Compensation details. Rather than specifying a pay range, state a specific pay amount. If compensation for the position includes benefits, list those benefits specifically.
  • Location of the job. Specifically state where the employee will be working, rather than using a corporate address on all job descriptions.


Including these important job details helps weed out applicants who do not possess the necessary qualifications, don’t care for the pay scale, or don’t want to work at the specified location. Additionally, these specific details aid in evaluating employees later on.


Every Company Needs Accurate Job Descriptions

Even companies with very few employees can benefit from well-written job descriptions. In fact, your success may depend on it. A good job description sets forth the qualifications and responsibilities of each job position. Not only does this help guide qualified applicants to positions you need to fill, but because it clearly outlines the required qualifications, skills, and duties, it helps supervisors monitor the employee’s performance on the job. Poorly written job descriptions amount to poor communication, which leads to confusion, and possibly to legal issues in the future.


Avoiding Legal Issues with an Effective Job Description

An employee filing a wrongful termination suit can use a poorly written job description as legal fuel for the fire. Employers who very specifically state all of the requirements and responsibilities of the job, and who keep accurate and timely records of employees’ performance, are able to effectively side-step this sticky legal situation. Additionally, a job description that accurately describes the physical requirements of the job helps employers ensure they are in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


Making Sure Employees Aren’t Mired in Their Job Description

Some jobs require employees to be given a certain amount of latitude and creativity. An overly rigid job description may hamper these employees’ ability to work effectively. To avoid this, be sure your job descriptions are written with enough flexibility to allow these employees to think outside the box, or take unconventional action when necessary. Additionally, your employees should feel comfortable cross training, helping other employees complete tasks, or making customer-pleasing decisions when necessary.


Job Descriptions Are Not Set in Stone

Job descriptions should be held to, as this is how employers protect themselves. In order to avoid employees from feeling as if they are set in stone, each job description should be written with some flexibility. Still, things change, and you will need to update job descriptions every so often. Regular meetings with management and employees help employers evaluate the effectiveness of each job description, and to set goals for maintaining accurate and effective job descriptions. This helps ensure the company continues operating smoothly.


Job Descriptions in Daily Use

Observing your employees with their specific job descriptions in mind provides a reference point for evaluating how well they perform their duties. Using job descriptions as a focal point for determining how well each employee uses his time, focuses his attention, and completes tasks, can be a valuable tool in determining eligibility for bonuses and raises in salary.


Summing it Up

Understanding the importance of an effective job description is the first step in understanding what education, experience, and skills are needed to make your company successful. Well-written job descriptions assist, not only in the hiring process, but in employee evaluation, and termination of employees who fail to fulfill their expected duties. The absence of detailed, written guidelines as to the duties and responsibilities of each specific job, evaluation expectations, and other important issues, is sure to lead to confusion. Effective job descriptions provide a road map for employers and employees alike.


Did You Know?

An employer who fails to follow company policies when it comes to disciplinary actions or termination may find itself embroiled in a wrongful termination suit. If, for example, the employee’s job description (or company policy) specifically states that three written warnings will be given for misconduct or poor performance prior to termination, firing an employee who has been given only verbal warnings may ensure the employee is successful in a wrongful termination suit.


Contact SCR today to learn how you can locate, recruit, hire and KEEP the best talent in the energy industry!


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